Baking bread in a fired (oven) place-

It has been very cold.


VERY cold.

Frank decided to have the fireplace heat the family room and kitchen and I decided to keep the

rest of the house between 60 and 62 degrees Farenheit.

Keeping a small fireplace like ours going all day is like babysitting- diligence and timing is all important.



The first day I spent watching the fire- running off to do some laundry- dishes- make meals-

etc.  and it seemed like a real burden.  But I kept a faithful watch and decided to do the

second day differently.  Because I had been keeping an eye on the ashes underneath the

grate and they were hot and substantial by mid day.


Look at all those hot coals!

So – yesterday I made a loaf of bread- a white bread with olive oil and high gluten flour and yeast.

Just a regular small loaf to experiment with, you know?


and around 3:30 PM I placed my baking stone into the hearth on the grate.


Placed my dough in a cast iron kettle with the lid on, closed the front windows of the

fireplace and left it in there for 25 minutes or so.


It baked it up – burned the bottom slightly and gave me a large loaf of slightly smoky bread.



Which went perfectly with my London Broil steak sandwich for lunch.

I should have gone sourdough with a more complex flour- but it was an experiment.

Which turned out very good.

(Although Frank said the house was too smoky and I let the fire go out so he had to start it up

again.  He isn’t a bread lover.  He likes store bought- so what does he know?)

Baking on the Internet- recipe for Chocolate Frangipane Tarts


My friend, Joanna, of zebbakes, made some fudge.  As we talked about it in her comments section-

we discovered that we both had some almond meal that we had purchased for Christmas baking but

hadn’t used.  So we decided to try baking up these tarts in tandem- me here in NE Ohio and her in

Bristol in the UK.  I’ve never made frangipane before- but she gave me this  link to a recipe that she

thought we could try.   I went there – to discover that the recipe was in metric and grams and celcius.

Which meant I needed to convert it ( or get out my digital scales) – so I did and made them yesterday.


They turned out beautifully- I garnished with raspberries and cream and some

blackberries I had it the refrigerator- and we have been enjoying them.

I had 5 tartlet pans with removeable bottoms- and some heart tins that I used- plus-

I froze up half of the pastry dough to make up later.

It was great fun, making these up with a friend- first of all- because I wouldn’t have

made then at all without her inspiration- and secondly, because it felt  so  friendly and

almost neighborly to be doing it together.


So- here is the recipe- if you’d like to give these a try.  It is a little fiddly to make the crust, bake it

and then make the frangipane and bake it again inside the tart- but the results are worth it.  AND-

the heart tarts that I baked alongside the larger tarts- I put the crust in the mold, added the frangipane

and baked them at the same time- and they tasted about the same.  So you could arguably omit the extra

bake of the crust.

Ingredients: (for pastry)

1 1/3 cups AP flour

1/4 cup icing sugar

2 tsp cocoa powder

5 1/2 TBS butter, soft, cubed

1/4 cup almond flour/meal

1 large egg

1/8 cup cold water


Sift together cocoa, flour and icing sugar, add butter with pastry blender or fingers, break down butter

into flour mixture until it resembles oatmeal in texture.  Stir in almond flour .  Beat egg and water together

and add to flour mixture, stir gently until it adheres into a ball and then refrigerate for an hour or so.


Take out of fridge and let warm for about 10 minutes, then divide into eight pieces and roll out each

piece separately to fit into tart pans.


Brush off extra flour and place into tart pan, scraping a knife on edges to make a sharp crust .


Make sure you fit the dough into the pan- along the bottom and sides or the dough

will slip down into the pan when you add parchment paper.

Place a round of parchment paper on top of dough and add a filler(I used black beans)

to keep the crust from bubbling and slipping down whilst baking.


Bake in preheated oven (350 degrees F) for about 15 minutes.  Take out of oven, cool and

take away the beans and parchment paper.

Ingredients: ( for frangipane)

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

flaked/sliced almonds


Cream the sugar and butter together until the sugar is dissolved.

Add eggs and almond meal alternately until they are all creamy and smooth.

Pour in melted chocolate and stir until incorporated into mixture, then start spooning

mix into tart crust until 2/3 filled.  I didn’t bake the heart crusts, just fit into mold and then

added filling and baked them all together.

Sprinkle with almonds and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.



When baked they will be puffy and start so show crackling.


Cool slightly and then carefully dislodge from tins.

Garnish with fruit or cream- Or fruit and cream,


and ENJOY!


We sure did!